My relationship with the Chess.com puzzle feature is borderline masochistic. The premise is simple – you are presented with a chess game that has progressed to a certain point and it is up to you to make the next move.
There is one correct move you can make. If you make that move, you may be prompted to make another move – of which there is only one correct move. Sometimes the puzzle can involve up to 4 or even 5 moves, I believe. If any one of those moves is not perfect, you lose points off your ranking.
I have completed over 2,400+ chess puzzles. I occasionally go through periods where I pay extra and can do 25 puzzles a day – but usually I am limited to the 5 free puzzles a day. I also go for months without any puzzles, but I always return.
My ranking is a miserable 713 currently. Here is my all time chart:
My ranking never really gets any better. And that is the point of this post. The source of the masochism. I desire to actually improve, rather than just play for fun.
My current plan is to keep a journal of mistakes and revisit them. Chess.com also now has a learning feature. I will work on those puzzles with the same focus. I will also document my thoughts upon looking at a difficult board and reflect on if there is a better chain of thoughts through which I can analyze the board.
My goal is to break 900 by August 31st.
This experiment has more to do with growth in learning than chess specifically. Chess is an arena that gives immediate feedback so it will be my current training ground. I am hoping the lessons learned in improving my chess puzzle score can be applied to any area I wish to improve.